Kerry to Review ‘State Sponsors of Terrorism’ Designation Cuba Has Held Since 1982

By Penny Starr | December 18, 2014 | 4:31 PM EST

(CNSNews.com) – As part of President Barack Obama’s restoration of diplomatic ties with the Communist government of Cuba, Secretary of State John Kerry will be reviewing the “State Sponsors of Terrorism” designation given to Cuba by the U.S. State Department, a designation the country has held since 1982.

President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Cuba is one of only four countries to have that designation, the others being Syria, Iran and Sudan.

In announcing the change on Dec. 17, President Obama said,  “This review will be guided by the facts and the law.  A nation that meets our conditions and renounces the use of terrorism should not face this sanction.''

The 2013 Country Reports on Terrorism states that the Cuban government has “long provided safe haven to members of Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA) and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), both defined by the State Department as “terrorist organizations.”

The report also credits Cuba with trying to broker a peace agreement between FARC and the Columbian government.

The report further states that in 2013 the Cuban government “continued to harbor fugitives wanted in the United States. The Cuban government also provided support such as housing, food ration books, and medical care for these individuals.”

Cuban Communist dictator Fidel Castro, left, and his then-chief executioner Ernesto 'Che' Guevara in the early 1960s.

The Associated Press reported that the United States will reopen an embassy in the capital of Havana and carry out high-level exchanges and visits between the governments. The U.S. will ease travel bans to Cuba, including for family visits, official U.S. government business and educational activities but tourist travel is still banned.

Licensed American travelers to Cuba will now be able to return to the United States  with $400 in Cuban goods, including tobacco and alcohol products worth less than $100 combined, ending a ban on cigars but with some limits still in place, the AP reported.

The United States is also increasing the amount of money Americans can send to Cubans from $500 to $2,000 every three months, according to the AP.

The entire 2013 State Department Designation of Cuba as a State Sponsor of Terrorism reads as follows:

Cuba was designated as a State Sponsor of Terrorism in 1982.

Cuba has long provided safe haven to members of Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA) and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Reports continued to indicate that Cuba’s ties to ETA have become more distant, and that about eight of the two dozen ETA members in Cuba were relocated with the cooperation of the Spanish government.

Throughout 2013, the Government of Cuba supported and hosted negotiations between the FARC and the Government of Colombia aimed at brokering a peace agreement between the two. The Government of Cuba has facilitated the travel of FARC representatives to Cuba to participate in these negotiations, in coordination with representatives of the Governments of Colombia, Venezuela, and Norway, as well as the Red Cross.

There was no indication that the Cuban government provided weapons or paramilitary training to terrorist groups.

The Cuban government continued to harbor fugitives wanted in the United States. The Cuban government also provided support such as housing, food ration books, and medical care for these individuals.

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